Thomas Hearns vs Iran Barkley I – Highlights (Huge Upset & KNOCKOUT)

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June 6th, 1988. “Knockout Nite” was a world title bout between the legendary Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and Iran Barkley aka “The Blade”. Hearns was the 4-1 betting favorite making the 1st defense of his WBC Middleweight Championship.

Prefight records; Hearns 45(38)-2, Barkley 24(14)-4.

In October 1987, Hearns made history by becoming the 1st boxer to ever win world titles in 4 different weight divisions; knocking out power punching Argentine Juan Domingo Roldan to bag the vacant WBC Middleweight Title in an exciting 4 round affair.

Hearns was world champion at 147, 154, 160 & 175 pounds after this victory.

On the other hand, Barkley in October of 87 competed in his 1st world title fight; taking on Sumbu Kalambay for the vacant WBA Middleweight Championship. Barkley while game, was unable to land his dangerous left hooks as Kalambay outworked him with left jabs and swift movements.

Barkley rebounded with KO wins over Michael Olajide & Sanderline Williams in January and March of 1988 to earn another crack for the Middleweight Crown; against Hearns for his WBC strap.

Going into the fight, the 28 year old Barkley had notable wins over Michael Olajide, James Kinchen, Norberto Sabater (2x) & Wilford Scypion (2x).

Hearns on the other hand had beaten a long list of meaningful oppositions including Dennis Andries, Juan Roldan, Bruce Finch, Clyde Grey, Mark Medal, James Shuler, Doug DeWitt, Murray Sutherland, Eddie Gazo, Harold Weston, Saensak Muangsurin, Angel Espada, Pipino Cuevas, Luigi Minchillo, Randy Shields, Marcos Geraldo, Roberto Durann & Wilfred Benitez.

Hearns controlled the fight for 6 minutes; hitting Barkley with lefts to the body, left hooks and right crosses to the head almost at will. In the 3rd frame, Hearns hurt Barkley badly to the body and Iran’s eyes were bruised and cut. Additionally, he was also bleeding from his mouth.

However, Barkley had studied tapes of Hitman’s previous bout against the ferocious punching Roldan.

In the fight with El Martillo, Hearns while largely dominated for 3 rounds scoring multiple knockdowns was wobbled by a pulverizing right hand in the 4th and was standing on spaghetti legs but Roldan was unable to capitalize as Hearns survived and rallied for the KO.

Using the Roldan blueprint, Barkley managed to connect with a pulverizing right hand flush on the chin as Hearns was ducking down while moving to his left and as his legs started to go Barkley instinctively landed another right; flooring Hearns hard and flat on his back.

In a tremendous display of courage, Hearns beat the count but was clearly out on his feet. The end inevitably happened as Barkley wasted no time moving in with a barrage of shots that sent Hearns sprawling into the ropes. Referee Richard Steele stepped in and a new WBC Champion was crowned.

The Blade’s victory was named Upset of the Year 1988 by Ring Magazine.

Hope you guys enjoy the highlights of this unforgettable bout, and SUBSCRIBE!

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